Former Carbonear Railway Station (Newfoundland Railway) National Historic Site of Canada

Carbonear, Newfoundland and Labrador
General view of the Carbonear Railway Station, showing its modest scale, simple design, hip roof; overhanging eaves, and wood-frame construction. (© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.)
General view
(© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.)
Address : Water Street West, Carbonear, Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1988-06-24
Dates:
  • 1917 to 1918 (Construction)
  • 1917 to 1984 (Significant)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Reid Newfoundland Company  (Organization)
Other Name(s):
  • Former Carbonear Railway Station (Newfoundland Railway)  (Designation Name)
  • Railway Station Museum  (Plaque name)
Research Report Number: 1988-020

Plaque(s)


Existing plaque:  Water Street West, Carbonear, Newfoundland and Labrador

This combined freight and passenger station is a rare surviving example of station design from the heyday of railway construction under the Reid Newfoundland Company. Built in 1917 on the site of an earlier structure, the station remained the northern terminus of the Brigus Junction to Carbonear branch line until the cessation of passenger trains in 1984. It provided waiting rooms, ticket sales, and administrative and baggage services. The building of the railway broadened the economic base of Carbonear and of other outports which were chosen as transshipment points for the coastal steamshipships.

Description of Historic Place

The Former Carbonear Railway Station (Newfoundland Railway) National Historic Site of Canada is centrally located at the foot of Water Street West in the main business district of the town of Carbonear, Newfoundland. The site consists of a one-storey, wood-frame building with a hipped roof and broad, overhanging eaves. The Former Carbonear Railway Station is a representative example of stations on the Newfoundland Railway System. Official recognition refers to the building on its footprint, as it existed at the time of designation (1988).

Heritage Value

Former Carbonear Railway Station (Newfoundland Railway) was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1988 because: it is a representative example of stations on the Newfoundland Railway System.

The Carbonear Railway Station is a rare surviving example of a railway station erected by the Reid Newfoundland Company. Railway construction began in Newfoundland in the 1880s as a way of developing the mining and lumber industries. The financing, construction and operation of the railway would dominate the economy and political agenda of the colony for more than 50 years. From 1901 to 1923 the Reid Newfoundland Company, a private company, operated the Newfoundland rail system.

The Carbonear Railway station was built in 1917 as a combined freight and passenger station, replacing an earlier station destroyed by fire. As a replacement station, it does not completely conform to the standard plans used extensively by the Reid Newfoundland Company. However, it is representative of the medium-sized, full-service, non-residential type of station erected by the company. The station’s design, with its broad, hipped roof, overhanging eaves and wood-frame construction, is typical of smaller stations erected by the company during the early 20th century. The station remained the northern terminus of the Brigus Junction to Carbonear branch line until the cessation of passenger trains in 1984.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1988.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include: its central location at the foot of Water Street West in the main business district of the town of Carbonear, Newfoundland; features typical of early-20th-century, rural railway stations across Canada, including its one-storey elevation, rectangular plan, broad, hipped roof with overhanging eaves, and projecting operator’s bay; features typical of smaller Reid Newfoundland Company stations, including its modest scale, simple design, hip roof; overhanging eaves, and wood-frame construction; its relationship to its site, including the location of the former railway tracks and the business district of Carbonear.